One of the distinctive features of the naturalistic inquiry is its focus on the context (Patton, 2014). This type of qualitative research is often associated with working in the field. Clearly, context is the key component of the research. Therefore, the theme that is the most persistent when considering the naturalistic inquiry is the contextual sensitivity. This theme is closely connected with the qualitative research as it is important to take into account as many external factors affecting people’s decisions and behaviors as possible. Naturalistic inquiry enables the researcher to make the fullest use of the theme and identify the contexts the samples are living in. Understanding contexts will ensure valid and reliable conclusions.
Emergent design flexibility is the strategy that implies a significant degree of adaptability as the researcher does not stick to particular rigid rules and designs (Patton, 2014). The flexibility enables the researcher to seek and choose new and the most appropriate ways to address the issue in the process of inquiry. The inductive analysis and creative synthesis can be regarded as the most appropriate theme to fit the nature of the emergent design flexibility.
The researcher identifies new contexts and has to adapt using new methods of data collection and analysis. There is no need in focusing on a particular theoretical paradigm as the research may (and often does) come up with a theory generated from the analysis. This theme is also important for the qualitative research as multiple contexts require multiple designs and methods.
Purposeful sampling is the strategy that implies the focus on the most “illuminative” samples as they provide the richest information on the matter (Patton, 2014, p. 46). Unique case orientation is the prevailing theme associated with the purposeful sampling. The theme is based on the assumption that the researcher should concentrate on a particular case. In qualitative research, this principle is essential as perspectives of people are central to the research. Each individual is unique, and, hence, each case should be treated in an individual way.
Identifying Themes in Research Articles
The article in question is published in the psychological journal, Social Psychology Quarterly. Armstrong, Hamilton, Armstrong and Seeley (2014) conduct a longitudinal ethnographic study. The cohort of female college students took part in the study. It is possible to note that the research can be regarded as an illustration of the application of the themes of the qualitative study. For instance, contextual sensitivity is manifested in the study as the researchers paid significant attention to the context.
Creswell (2012) states that natural setting is crucial for obtaining the most complete and valid data as the participants are in the environment that shapes their decisions when they share their views. This makes their accounts precise and focused. Therefore, when concentrating on the development of certain trends on campus, it is but natural to use the campus as the platform for eliciting the necessary information.
Another prevailing theme is purposeful sampling, which is closely connected with the theme mentioned above. Armstrong et al. (2014) choose a group of students of one educational establishment, which makes the research context specific and very illustrative. The gender issues and females’ perspectives are regarded through the lens of the most affected people and those who shape the views on campus.
These two themes are typical of the qualitative study as this approach is associated with ideas, opinions and contexts. The researcher is interested in factors affecting people’s choices and behaviors, which means that individual perspectives and specific contexts are under analysis.
Armstrong, E.A., Hamilton, L.T., Armstrong, E.M., & Seeley, J.L. (2014). “Good girls”: Gender, social class, and slut discourse on campus. Social Psychology Quarterly, 77(2), 100-122.
Creswell, J.W. (2012). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Patton, M.Q. (2014). Qualitative research & evaluation methods: Integrating theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.